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Mat 13:47-50  To which of Jesus’ other parables in this chapter is this parable most like?  See Mat 13:36-43.  In what way is it similar, and in what way is it different?  Does the sea in this parable represent the church, or the world?  See Psa 98:7, Isa 57:20, 60:5.  If there was an element of this parable that did represent the church, what would it be?  See Mat 13:48.  What does this parable teach us about the reach of the gospel net of Christ’s kingdom, and how was that different from the Jewish expectations in the first century of the kingdom Christ would establish?  Hint: to what does “every kind” refer in Mat 13:47?  See Mar 7:26, Act 4:36, 18:2,24, 1Pe 2:9 where the same word is used for “race” or “birth”.  See also Mat 28:18.  What apologetic value would this parable have had for those to whom Matthew was writing at the time when so many of the Jews were rejecting the gospel because it was going forth to the Gentiles?  Why should they have not been surprised that the kingdom promises of the Messiah would extend beyond the Jews to “every kind” of fish?  See Isa 42:1-7, 49:5-6.  Are we as ethnocentric as the Jews in supposing that God’s truth is only or primarily for us or those like us?  Are we like they were in considering that those who do not measure up to the standard of our own religious practices and experience are at best second-class citizens of God’s kingdom?  Read Hab 1:13-17; in what way is the dragnet of Christ’s kingdom similar, and in what way is it different from the dragnet of the Chaldeans that gathered peoples?  How is the pursuit by many today of “diversity” and “multiculturalism” a modern counterfeit of the gospel dragnet that draws from every nation, tribe, and tongue and people (Rev 14:6)?  Hint: are those who draw the “diversity” dragnet of today seeking diverse expressions of righteousness?  In what way are they like the Babylonians who offered sacrifice and burned incense to their net because through it their “catch was large” and their “food was plentiful”?  In the parable, what does Jesus say happens to the bad fish, and how is that different from what is often celebrated today in the name of diversity and multiculturalism?  As in the parable of the tares, does this parable teach that the righteous are taken out from the midst of the wicked, or that the wicked are “separated out” from the midst of the righteous?  See Mat 13:49.  When does that separation take place?  Cf. Heb 9:26.  Is it possible that that separation has been and is even now taking place, perhaps through the spiritual winds we encounter in our daily lives, which like the physical winds sift and separate the wheat from the chaff?  See Mat 3:12, Isa 41:15-16.  What apologetic value might such a thought have had for those to whom Matthew was writing, and what admonition should it have for us to keep watch, persevere in the faith, and not fall away?  In what other parable does Jesus say that the wicked will be separated from the righteous and depart into eternal fire?  See Mat 25:31-33,41.  What do these three parables all make clear about 1) a mixture of true and false believers under the gospel umbrella, 2) the eventual separation of the false from the true, and 3) the ultimate end of the false?  Do the false know that they are false, or do they suppose that they are true?  See Mat 7:21-23, 25:11-12,44-46.  What is the distinguishing characteristic of those who are true?  See Mat 7:16-20, 13:22-23,26,49.  Which are we?  Are religious acts like going to church, reading the Bible, prophesying in Christ’s name, casting out demons, or even performing miracles necessarily evidence of good fruit?  What is evidence of good fruit?  Cf. Gal 5:22-23.  If one was concerned that he might not be true and wanted to become so, would the solution be to try and be more religious, or with a good and honest heart to be born again of the seed of God’s word and in humble, patient faith allow that seed to grow up and bear the fruit of a branch connected to Christ’s vine?

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